Noise and Thermal Testing

Without anywhere to put a dedicated graphics card in the Antec ISK 110 VESA, testing winds up being a bit more truncated than we'd expect. In a way some of these results are going to seem academic, essentially reviewing SilverStone's NT07-1156 heatsink/fan unit about as much as the case itself.

Ambient temperature during testing hovered between 24C and 25C.

CPU Temperatures

SSD Temperatures

These test results are actually a little more interesting than I'd expected; despite the ventilation, the heatsink has to do all the work of keeping the CPU cool. With no directed airflow in the system outside of that, the processor actually runs notably warmer than in larger, more closed off cases with more directed airflow. Only the Cooler Master Elite 120, with its poor intake airflow, posts a worse temperature on the processor, but those thermals are still perfectly reasonable.

On the other hand, the SSD in the ISK 110 is running much hotter than I'd like. The bottom panel really needs more ventilation than it has; a peak temperature in the mid-40s is still within spec for most 2.5" drives, but that's with just a single SSD. A second drive, especially a mechanical hard drive, could bump thermals up a few degrees and start edging pretty close to 50C, which is spec for some drives.

CPU Fan Speed

Fan speed in the ISK 110 is middle of the road. As long as you're using a processor that runs fairly cool you shouldn't have too many issues with it; we still have some headroom on ours.

Noise Levels

The flipside to the Antec ISK 110 VESA's design is that while it relies solely on the heatsink/fan combo to actively cool the system, it also relies solely on the heatsink/fan combo to actively cool the system. That means with a unit like the SilverStone one we use, the ISK 110 VESA can run comfortably quiet even under load.

Testing Methodology Conclusion: Good Deal, If You Need It


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  • SodaAnt - Friday, August 31, 2012 - link

    Well, the mac min has a different set of design criteria. Apple doesn't have to fit a specific form factor, so they can mount pretty much everything on the board itself and do away with most of the cables. When you realize that you can get the same power as the $600 mac mini in a laptop $200 cheaper, you also realize how much more expensive it is.If antec were designing something like the mac mini, they could mount all the power hardware on the board, have a direct connection for the power, hdd, and fan. Further, the mac mini doesn't support two hard drives like this case does. Reply
  • sligett - Monday, September 03, 2012 - link

    Apple will sell you a Mac Mini with two drives:

    750GB Serial ATA Drive @ 7200 rpm + 256GB Solid State Drive
  • deruberhanyok - Friday, August 31, 2012 - link

    a mini ITX motherboard with a pair of mini PCI Express slots. One for wifi and one for an SSD.

    You'd have less cabling and the SSD would get cooling from airflow off the CPU heatsink.

    Unfortunately, it seems mini ITX boards with mini PCI Express slots usually only have one. Still, better to put the SSD there and use a USB wifi dongle, I'd think.
  • drfish - Friday, August 31, 2012 - link

    I'm hoping to put an AMD A300 APU in one of these things. We don't need much power for the Solidworks models we produce but we do need the BS certified drivers so I'm hoping this will make a solid tiny workstation, err, a tiny Solidworkstation I guess. Reply
  • Termie - Friday, August 31, 2012 - link

    Thanks for covering this hot new area of case design. I think ITX is really the way a lot of people will be going.

    While this case is smaller than I'd consider reasonable or necessary, it's definitely interesting to read about.

    I'd be very curious, however, what your opinion would be of two cases I recently considered for an ITX build:

    (1) The Antec ISK 310-150, the big brother to the ISK 110 (which has that extra PSU headroom you're wishing for).
    (2) The Bit Finex In Win BP655, which is just slightly larger than the ISK 310, and which I ultimately chose for a recent ITX build.

    The Antec is slightly smaller (in one dimension only - height (in the long direction), and also has venting for a PCIe video card. The Bit Finex is much cheaper, has more PSU headroom, takes a 3.5" drive and a full-size optical drive, and has just a bit more room to work in.

    Again, thanks for covering this area of case design!
  • Termie - Friday, August 31, 2012 - link

    Sorry, I mean In Win BP 655, not Bit Finex. Reply
  • Zap - Friday, August 31, 2012 - link

    I'm using the ISK 300-150 (different face than the ISK 310-150, all black with flip-down)

    In Win traditionally has somewhat mediocre PSUs. At least Antec's is somewhat known, as a review site used a load tester on it (hardwaresecrets?) and found it does put out what it claims without issues, other than lower efficiency than what is now considered normal. Only redeeming part of In Win's case is that it uses a standard TFX PSU, unlike Antec's proprietary PSU. Seasonic makes 80Plus Gold PSUs in the TFX size up to 350W. Good luck fitting 350W worth of parts into such a small case!

    I believe Antec uses slightly thicker steel than In Win for the case panels.
  • AssBall - Friday, August 31, 2012 - link

    "...while it relies solely on the heatsink/fan combo to actively cool the system, it also relies solely on the heatsink/fan combo to actively cool the system."

  • Termie - Friday, August 31, 2012 - link

    I think that was an attempt at humor.

    One fan means it runs hot, one fan means it runs quiet...
  • Lonyo - Friday, August 31, 2012 - link

    Do you have any alternative PSUs to hand? Might be interesting to see if something like a PicoPSU would make the entire job any easier than dealing with the built in one (as odd as that sounds).
    The main issue would be the fact there is only one SATA connector on that specific model, but you could get an adapter (although it would take up a little extra space), or re-wire a SATA connector instead of second PATA.

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